This week a range of voices continue our series on separation. We start with Michael Lerner speaking on his 2006 book, "The Left Hand of God: Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right", about the spiritual disconnection of modern US society, and how this has been both exacerbated and the exploited by an alliance of corporate interests and the 'religious right'. Next a short section of an interview with Bill McKibben. In our second hour, after revisiting the words of Charles Eisenstein, we hear from Richard Louv, about what he terms 'Nature Deficit Disorder'.
We take a range of perspectives on what Charles Eisenstein terms 'separation', showing how even mainstream dialogue is starting to recognise the fatal flaws at the heart of the economic model of the discrete and separate self. Our first hour starts with Rabbi Michael Lerner, author of The Left Hand of God - Taking Back Our Country from the Religious Right, on the damage inflicted on US society by deny people a chance to live as Nature/God intended. He suggests that the credo of self-interest has eroded people's innate moral values, leaking over into the rest of their lives, creating a profound spiritual crisis; people are lonely, disconnected and lacking meaning in their lives, unsatisfied in a social climate devoid of altruism and compassion. Echoing Lakoff's Strict Father/Nurturing Parent dichotomy, Lerner argues that the sacred texts of every religion - using the term to include secular religions such as psychology and Marxism - have two contrasting ideas. On the one hand, they propose security and virtue through disconnection from and domination of the other, on the other, though unselfish love and re-connection. Echoing George Lakoff from episode 505, he argues that the religious right has backing a simplistic equation of wealth with God's blessing, thus replacing the divine right of kings by the divine right of corporations. He urges opponents of corporate rule to rediscover the spiritual and social angles of the struggle, and reinterpret their sacred texts as a call to arms against hierarchical domination and in favour of social reconnection. Next we hear a short (5 minute) section of a much longer 2007 interview with Bill McKibben, in which he reports on the social disconnection and calls for Our first hour closes with a reading from chapter 4 of Charles Eisenstein's Ascent of Humanity, on Spiritual Capital.
After a quick music break by Eddie Vedder, we continue where we left off the Charles Eisenstein reading, about how children are increasingly imprisoned in the name of security and safety. This is fear-based, strict father style security, which won't tolerate unplanned, spontaneous interactions, but which undermines children's education through bombarding them with programmed stimuli. We conclude the show with Natasha Mitchell interviewing Richard Louv, who coined the phrase "Nature Deficit Disorder", on the physical and psychological health effects from failing to let children interact freely with nature as they grow up. We also hear from Deb Moore, a preschool teacher for more than 20 years, whose recent Masters of Education interviewed children into the secret world of the child's imagination, which she calls 'the secret business of children's secret places'. I am encouraged that whilst Richard Louv's work doesn't fit easily within the reductionist logical framework of health as a sum of mechanistic inputs, it nevertheless makes intuitive sense on a deeper level to a wide spectrum of people, as evidenced by its appearance on the New York Times bestseller list.
Music: Eddie Vedder
Thanks to Geoff Cheshire for the Michael Lerner interview